Chennai-based Wheels India and Volkswagen Motorsport India have come together to develop lightweight wheels for India’s fastest touring car – the Volkswagen TC4-A Vento. During initial testing, the TC4-A Vento achieved a benchmark lap time of 1.07.892 at the Kari Motor Speedway.
Wheels India has designed and developed this wheel in-house at its forged alloy manufacturing facility in Chennai. The forged alloy wheel has the benefit of stronger structural rigidity with an unsprung weight benefit of about 1.5 to 2 kilograms per wheel over a standard cast wheel. This is achieved as the grain structure of the material for a forged alloy wheel is denser than a cast alloy wheel which results in better strength and lower weight.
Speaking on the partnership with Wheels India, Sirish Vissa, Head of Volkswagen Motorsport India said, “Our race machines are constantly evolving and the team is always looking for ways to improve the dynamics of our race cars. The addition of the forged wheel has had a considerable impact on weight savings and this in turn has been a major performance upgrade. With further calibration, we expect to improve performance in the future.”
He further added, “It’s a great step by Wheels India to develop and manufacture high performance and robust forged alloy wheels in India that match the performance and safety standards required for motorsports. Since 2010, we have imported wheels from UK and Germany and now we finally have a local supplier that develops high quality standard wheels for motorsports.”
Commenting on the development of the forged alloy wheel, Shriram Vijayaraghavan, senior vice-president, Wheels India, said, “The wheels have gone through extensive development both in the laboratory and on the race track. The laboratory simulated the load conditions on the wheels when driven on these race tracks. We have collected and analysed data from the wheel and optimised it to meet the performance requirements of the racing car.”
The Volkswagen Motorsport team validated the result achieved on the test bench by running the car on the track with a wheel instrumented with load measurement and telemetry, so the data can be logged in real time and in real-world conditions. The team achieved an excellent correlation between real world conditions and the test and simulation data.